Young People Ask . . .
What Should I Do With My Life?
“At first, I didn’t worry about the future. But as I got closer to graduating from school, I realized that I was going out into the real world, with real jobs. And real bills.”—Alex, 17.
AS A child, did you daydream about what you would be when you grew up? How do you feel about those ambitions now? Are you confused about how you will support yourself as an adult? If so, you’re not alone. “Career decision making is one of the major challenges young people face,” says the book Career Coaching Your Kids.
On the other hand, a career might be the last thing on your mind right now. Perhaps you are more concerned with having fun. There is nothing wrong with having a good time, for the Bible tells you to “enjoy life while you are young!” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, Contemporary English Version) Nevertheless, now is an appropriate time to start thinking about what you will do with your life. “The shrewd one considers his steps,” says Proverbs 14:15. How can you consider yours?
“Know Where You Are Headed”
Imagine that you are planning a journey that will take you many miles from home. Probably, you would first consult a map to determine the best route. It is similar with planning your future. “You have a wide variety of options,” says Michael, a young man who now serves at one of the branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How do you sort through the vast array of choices? “It’s all about goals,” Michael says.
Think of a goal as a target destination. You will likely not reach it by wandering about aimlessly. It is far better to pull out a map and plot your course, so to speak. In this way you will be following the admonition of Proverbs 4:26: “Smooth out the course of your foot.” The Contemporary English Version renders that phrase: “Know where you are headed.”
In the coming years, you will make many important decisions regarding worship, employment, marriage, family, and other vital matters. Wise choices will be easier to make if you first know where you are headed. And as you plot your course in life, there is one factor that you cannot ignore.
“Remember Your Creator”
If you are to be truly happy, you must take to heart the words of wise King Solomon: “Remember your Creator while you are still young.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1, Today’s English Version) The roads you choose in life should be influenced by a desire to please God.
Why is that important? The Bible says at Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” Yes, all creatures in heaven and on earth owe a debt of gratitude to the Creator. Are you thankful that he has given you “life and breath and all things”? (Acts 17:25) Do you not feel compelled to give something back to Jehovah God in appreciation for all that he has given you?
Keeping their Creator close in mind, many youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses have chosen to pursue the full-time ministry. The fact is, the full-time ministry is a noble goal, and it brings countless blessings. (Malachi 3:10) Forethought, though, will be needed. For example, ask yourself, ‘What abilities and skills do I have that I could use to support myself in the full-time ministry?’
Kelly, now 27, started with a plan early in life. She had a clear goal of entering the full-time ministry. In her late teens, Kelly started “plotting her course” when it came to employment. “I had to choose something that would allow me to support myself in my ministry,” she says.
Kelly trained to be a dental assistant through a vocational program in high school. She even won a state competition. But her success did not cause her to lose sight of her primary goal. “The full-time ministry was what I wanted to do,” says Kelly. “Everything else was secondary.” Kelly is still enjoying the full-time ministry. “I feel my decision was the best one that I could have made,” she says.
Ask for Directions
If you were traveling in an unfamiliar area, at some point you would likely need to ask for directions—even if you had a map. You can do the same with planning your future. Get the input of others. Proverbs 20:18 says: “By counsel plans themselves are firmly established.” Of course, your parents are one vital resource. You can also seek the advice of mature Christians whose life reflects godly wisdom. “Look at those who are good examples as adults in your congregation or nearby areas,” recommends Roberto. “They can tell you some things that are quite surprising.”
More than anyone else, Jehovah God wants to help you make choices in life that will give you the greatest happiness. So ask him to help you ‘go on perceiving what his will is’ regarding your future. (Ephesians 5:17) If you trust in Jehovah with all your heart, “he himself will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5, 6.
More articles from the “Young People Ask . . .” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ypa
TO THINK ABOUT
◼ What abilities and skills do you have?
◼ Can you think of ways that these abilities can be used to praise Jehovah?
◼ Which particular form of full-time service mentioned in this article appeals to you?
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A DEAD-END STREET
The Bible says: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” The road to wealth is riddled with potholes! Ultimately, it can be a dead-end street of debt, anxiety, and spiritual collapse.—1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
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A pioneer publisher is an exemplary, baptized Christian who has arranged to spend a minimum of 70 hours each month preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. Through training and experience, pioneers sharpen their skills as Bible teachers.
Bethel family members serve in branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where they help in the preparation, production, and shipping of Bible literature. Each assignment at Bethel is a sacred privilege of service.
SERVING WHERE THERE IS A GREATER NEED
Some pioneers are able to move to areas where there is a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers. Others learn another language and serve either in a foreign land or with a congregation using that language.
International servants travel to other lands to aid in the construction of Kingdom Halls and branch facilities. This is a form of sacred service comparable to the work of those who constructed Solomon’s temple.—1 Kings 8:13-18.
MINISTERIAL TRAINING SCHOOL
The eight-week course trains qualified single elders and ministerial servants in organizational matters and public speaking. Some graduates are assigned to serve in their home country; others take on a foreign assignment.
Qualified pioneers with health and stamina are trained for service in foreign lands. Missionaries lead exciting, fulfilling lives.
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WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY LIFE?
This program, produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, features candid interviews with youths from Brazil, Britain, Germany, and the United States. It will soon be available in a number of languages.
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“It’s all about goals.”—Michael, a Bethel family member
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“It was the best decision I could have made.”—Kelly, a pioneer for six years
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“Look at those who are good examples.”—Roberto, a Bethel family member